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I saw one incident that an accepted - correct - answer was down voted after two years. That answer was based on an early script version and it was in beta process (v1.0.1).

After two years, a user came in and down voted the answer and left a comment:

-1 it didn't work for me (v1.3.0)

Is there a mechanism to control such behavior, or it should be the contributor's job to mention in his answer that the answer works only for v1.0.1? Although nobody can predict what updates will occur.

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The mechanism is to update the answer or suffer downvotes. –  user7116 Mar 15 '13 at 17:16
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It can be helpful to have answers for old versions around, for people working on legacy systems who can't upgrade for whatever reason. The important thing is that everyone communicates clearly, not that the site only answers questions about the latest tech. @sixlettervariables –  Pops Mar 15 '13 at 18:20
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Answering questions on SE is like teenage sex. Ten minutes of fun and then you'll support it for the rest of your life. –  Uphill Luge Mar 15 '13 at 18:24
    
@PopularDemand: that's what I said... "update the answer". –  user7116 Mar 15 '13 at 18:52
    
@sixlettervariables oh, I misinterpreted your comment. Sorry. –  Pops Mar 15 '13 at 19:08

2 Answers 2

up vote 12 down vote accepted

No, there is not, nor should there be. Each and every user is allowed to vote as they see fit.

You can reply to the commnenter explaining the answer is old, and if they do not respond, move on. At least the user left a comment as to why they downvoted.

Alternatively, update the answer to state that it is only for a specific version, or update to make it work for the newer version.

Yes, with time your answers may become incorrect, and you cannot always prevent that. You can however update your answers at a later time. The downvote and comment at the very least notified you that your answer is now outdated.

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If I update my answer based on a new update, my answer might not work with an older version, and it wouldn't fit the original question. –  Omar Mar 15 '13 at 18:04
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@OmarNew2PHP: For one older answer of mine I opted to prefix it with a statement that it applies to an older version only. –  Martijn Pieters Mar 15 '13 at 18:05
    
@OmarNew2PHP: I didn't state you had to fix the post to work for the newer version, just that you could edit it. –  Martijn Pieters Mar 15 '13 at 18:05
    
Thanks for this example, it's exactly how every answer should have. Maybe there could be extra fields to specify the version clearly. it's not about reputation, its more about appreciation to those who spent time helping others. –  Omar Mar 15 '13 at 18:10
    
I doubt fields about versions are going to be helpful in this case. It doesn't happen often in any case. –  Martijn Pieters Mar 15 '13 at 18:11
    
Update doesn't mean you can't run 2 versions in the same answer. –  user7116 Mar 15 '13 at 19:47

I can see how this can be an issue. For example: if I provided a CSS solution, then 3 years later that solution becomes obsolete, and someone down votes on it.

Would that be fair? I would say yes.

If another user looking for a solution sees my old answer, and it has never been down voted for being "obsolete", then that user will be more likely to use my out-dated solution.

I wouldn't want that. I would want the user to find a current solution for their problem. So I agree that users should be able to down vote older answers that have become obsolete.

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I would not say it is fair, if the answer correctly answered the question at the time it was asked. Pointing out the answer doesn't anymore applies because recent changes is better. Differently, a user could down-vote an answer given for Drupal 5 because it doesn't work for him, as he is using Drupal 7. –  kiamlaluno Mar 15 '13 at 22:09
    
I can see your point from a perspective when using software that has revisions, but not on a simple CSS or HTML trick. –  Xarcell Mar 16 '13 at 2:30

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